Land developers and builders Ted Chang and Rusty Green have a lot in common. They’ve got an unusual partnership to make some major things happen northeast of Colorado Springs. They also share a sweetheart of a golf course under construction, although in the face of drought, ‘sweat-heart’ development might be more like it.
Winding through the land plans of Meridian Ranch Filing 1 and Woodmen Hills Filing 11, Antler Creek Golf Course will begin laying sod in May or June. It will be slow-growing, according to Green, developer of Woodmen Hills and home builder there under the name of Trail Ridge Homes — unless projected conditions change. Four home builders, Pulte Homes, Trail Ridge Homes, Classic Homes and Vantage Homes will open their new furnished model homes this month or next in these two neighboring developments.
Chang is working his 2,650-acre project, Meridian Ranch, from San Diego headquarters of GTL Inc., part of the family of companies called Techbilt Co., using the help of a Colorado Springs/San Diego-commuting project supervisor. Chang’s father, Paul, bought the land years ago with intentions to develop, finding success as a land developer and builder along California’s coast. There are plenty of hopes and dreams resting today on the green tips of survey sticks — green for the golf greens they represent to the heavy equipment operators on the job everyday. Niebur Golf Inc. is responsible for construction of the course.
“Ted and I knew that another slowdown was coming, and it could be a battle for market share. Whatever buyers who are in the market are offered a lot of opportunities,” says Green. “And there is no more affordable housing available, and none that is being planned, that centers around a golf course and a rec center.”
Swagata Guha, founder of Design Edge in Colorado Springs, is architect for the new Woodmen Hills 17,000-square-foot recreation center, with two indoor pools. Guha is also the architect for Antler Creek’s clubhouse, located on the Meridian Ranch side of the course. It features a veneer of river rock and vaulted interior space, with windows on the west for scenic views. It will begin construction by June. As Green points out, it will provide the closest sit-down dinner to the Falcon area.
Woodmen Road District, its bonds paid for by permits and plat fees, plus a mill levy on the land, is funding major road improvements, such as the expansion of Meridian Road to four lanes. It’s the brainchild of Chang and Green after El Paso County requested that both projects be treated as one regarding traffic impact, sewer and water.
A pilot water-recharge program under Cherokee Metropolitan District is fundamental to future plans for Meridian Ranch and Woodmen Hills. A contract to handle Schreiver Air Force Base’s wastewater has allowed the district to recharge the underlying aquifer with treated water that percolates through the ground. Eventually, the recharge program will allow the district to distribute an additional 7,000 acre feet of water, according to Stuart Loosley, Cherokee’s general manager.
Also under construction in the next 120 days will be a new elementary school in Meridian Ranch, to be paid for by the developer before its dedication back to Falcon School District. Green was happy to see Chang on the development horizon, he says.
“It’s all because of Paul Chang and his tremendous social commitment,” according to Green. “Paul Chang and his family have a willingness to lead the charge to take care of the problems. He’s an incredible asset to the county. Woodmen Hills couldn’t have done it without him.”
Praise notwithstanding, Chang is anything but the traditional developer – one that is at odds with other developers and sometimes the builders.
Says Chang, from his offices 855 miles straight to the west of here: “The traditional way of looking at land sales for developers is, they look at their competitor, they look at the sale. It’s much more of an adversarial attitude.
“We recognize we will be competing for different builders but we’re operating cooperatively, cooperatively marketing and bringing amenities in the hopes of expanding our market share. It’s been different for Colorado Springs.”
For many of the residents and working people within a holler of Falcon, it’s all good news. “The way we look at it is one of the appeals of our area is the people, who like living a little further out of town, like the amenities we can give them. We also realized that road accesses to the neighborhood were congested and difficult to get to – and that would seriously impact sales,” explains Chang.
Local land planners and landscape architects NES Inc. makes it easy for the two developers to compare notes, because it’s handling this northernmost filing of Woodmen Hills and Meridian Ranch. The plans represent 873 homes in Woodmen Hills Country Club Edition, and 800 in Filing 1 of Meridian Ranch.
Golf course lots anyone? Finished home prices will range from $160,000 to $300,000 on 1/2-acre lots in Woodmen Hills, and from the $180,000s in Meridian Ranch. Sweet.